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Why We Want Private Sector To Drive Solid Minerals Sector –FG

The federal government has said it was working with the legislature to establish a private sector-driven initiative, where citizens would hold 25 per cent through public shares and private investors would hold a maximum of 1 per cent in a N1 billion share capital initiative.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, made this announcement yesterday in Abuja, adding that solid minerals was not just a government business.

Speaking during his keynote address at the inaugural Solid Minerals Conference organised by Businessday Newspapers, Alake lauded the organisation for its interest in developing the mineral resources in collaboration with the federal government, stressing that the approach was in conformity with the nation’s statutes on mining, which put the sector in the exclusive legislative list.

The minister noted that since the proclamation of the Seven-point Agenda in September 2023, a comprehensive roadmap for the sector’s repositioning had been set in motion which was committed to driving change and reforms.

He said, “Central to our efforts to reposition the sector is the establishment of a private-sector driven, Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation. Following successful deliberations with the legislative arm, the process of creating the law for this critical institution has begun.

“On February 12 and 13, 2024, the Solid Minerals Committee of the House of Representatives will hold the first policy dialogue on the proposed law to create the corporation.

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“In working with the legislature to establish the legal and legitimate foundation for the institution, our resolve to ensure that a share structure in line with a private sector- led strategy in which the federal government will hold not more than 25 per cent, the Nigerian citizens will, by public shares hold 25 percent and private investors, each with a maximum of 10 per cent of the shares of the N1 billion share capital will be achieved.

“We are also determined to learn from the pitfalls of the defunct Nigerian Mining Corporation by ensuring that the new company operates according to the values of the market by reducing unnecessary intervention to the barest minimum and motivating its officials to take decisions solely for profitability and capital formation in the sector.

“The case for the acquisition of massive exploration data to de-risk investment has been successfully articulated.

“The First Nigerian Integrated Mineral Exploration Project succeeded in producing data on the occurrence of seven key minerals – Gold,PGM, Nickel, Chromium, Cobalt,Lead/Zinc, Silver, Copper, Baryte, Iron ore and earth minerals -across the country in specific locations. It led to the creation of special areas in the cartography of our cadastral systems.”

He added: “Considering the adversarial legacy of the Nigerian media forged in the crucibles of anti-colonial struggle, the typical knee-jerk reaction to a new regime has been to draw lines of battle and engage in often atrocious attrition.

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“Central to our efforts to reposition the sector is the establishment of a private-sector driven, Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation. Following successful deliberations with the legislative arm, the process of creating the law for this critical institution has begun.”

Source: Thisday

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